June 2013 LSAT, LR1, Q9, junk food taxation

Crowdsourcing the June 2013 LSAT:  June 2013 LSAT Explanation Central | About this project Jermain Jones showed up every night for LSAT class in a suit, straight from Mayor Ed Lee's office, where he works as a Legislative Aide. He's diligent, soft-spoken, and super friendly. By the end of his 12-week LSAT class, he was knocking on the door of 170. My students, like Jermain, sit for four-hour LSAT lectures after long days at work. I could never do that myself. I sometimes feel sorry for them, and many of them feel sorry for themselves. But Jermain showed up every single night with a smile and a joke, which translates into success on the test. I won't be surprised in the slightest when Jermain becomes Mayor himself.

Guest blogger: Jermain Jones

photo-10When I approach Logical Reasoning questions, I force myself to follow the Nathan method of finding an answer before looking at the answer choices. My struggle has been that I can do this on earlier questions in the test, but halfway through I'll slip back into looking at the answer choices before coming up with my own answer. Unfortunately, it's a lot slower and less accurate to do it that way than to predict the answers in advance.

For this question, a Main Conclusion question, it's particularly important to predict the answer before looking at the answer choices. (Either you can identify the conclusion of an argument, or you can't. The answer choices won't help.) So I read over the passage carefully, and went to work to find the conclusion. I always hear Nathan asking, "Why is this author wasting my time with this?" in my head. This is how I broke it down:

1) It would benefit the public health if junk food were taxed. (That's a bold claim, which needs to be proven. So the rest of the argument will probably provide evidence for this claim, which means this is the conclusion and is going to end up being the answer.)

2)Not only in this country, but in other countries as well, the excessive proportion of junk food in our diets contribute to many common and serious health problems.

3) If junk food were more expensive than healthful food, people would be encouraged to make dietary changes that would reduce these problems. (If - Then.)

Just as I suspected: Components 2) and 3) provide evidence for component 1. So my predicted answer is "It would benefit the public health if junk food were taxed." Looking at the answer choices, I get a direct hit on the first answer. The correct answer is A - Taxing junk food would benefit public health.

(Editor's note: There's really no point in analyzing the incorrect answers on a question like this. You simply must be able to identify the conclusion of an argument. Ask yourself: Why is the author wasting my time with this? What's the point? What's the evidence that supports that point? Eventually, you'll be able to isolate the conclusion. Then you just have to find an answer choice that matches your prediction. You should be able to nail it just about every time. --nathan)

Please ask questions and/or suggest corrections to anything that seems confusing... we want to make this the best resource we can for LSAT students. We'll have all the June 2013 explanations up as quickly as possible. Thanks for reading. Tell your friends! --nathan

Crowdsourcing the June 2013 LSAT:  June 2013 LSAT Explanation Central | About this project